2006 January Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 1

January 2006

Welcome to the Semitracks Online Monthly Newsletter! It is our goal that you find this newsletter interesting, informative and useful. Please email any comments or feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

1. Upcoming Courses

FIB Technology Course

Presenter - Mr. Kultaransingh N. (Bobby) Hooghan

February 22, 2006 In Dallas, TX

SMMS Labs, 2051 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, Texas 75234

Focused Ion beam (FIB) systems have been in existence for a little over two decades, but only within the past decade or so have they really made significant contributions in industry. In the early years, FIB systems were primarily used for mask repair. Now they are a boon to the semiconductor industry, the principle user and driving force for FIB development. FIB systems now have numerous and important applications such as carrying out device edits on prototype devices to fix design errors, incorporate last minute changes requested by clients, run experiments, probe circuits for failure analysis (FA), etc. FIB systems can turn around devices in a matter of hours prior to mask changes, and are a boon for performing system and board level checks. Devices can now be worked iteratively until the correct result is achieved. On the analytical side, site-specific sample preparation for scanning and transmission electron microscopes (SEM/TEM) has never been so (relatively) easy and repeatable. Various applications will be discussed. To register for this event, click here.

Note: There are several hotels in the area immediately surrounding the SMMS Labs, including La Quinta Inn, Best Western, Days Inn, Comfort Inn, and several others.

There's still time to sign up for our ESD/Latchup and Packaging courses, only a few spots remain!

ESD Design and Technology

IC Packaging Design

IC Packaging Technology and Challenges

Thermal Management

Failure and Yield Analysis Course

Presenter - Christopher Henderson

April 24-27, 2006 in Austin, TX

Failure and Yield Analysis is an increasingly difficult and complex process; engineers are required to locate defects on complex integrated circuits. In many ways, this is akin to locating a needle in a haystack, where the needles get smaller and the haystack gets bigger every year. Engineers are required to understand a variety of disciplines in order to effectively perform failure analysis. This requires knowledge of subjects like: design, testing, technology, processing, materials science, chemistry, and even optics! Failed devices and low yields can lead to customer returns and idle manufacturing lines that can cost a company millions of dollars a day. Your industry needs competent analysts to help solve these problems. This is a multi-day course that offers detailed instruction on a variety of effective tools, as well as the overall process flow for locating and characterizing the defect responsible for the failure. For more information or to register for this event, click here.

2. Upcoming Conferences

International Reliability Physics Symposium

March 26-30, 2006 San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA

To view the IRPS website, click here.

AMFA Workshop

March 31, 2006 San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA

Christopher Henderson, President of Semitracks, Inc., will be presenting a paper at this conference.

To view the AMFA website, click here.

Semicon West 2006

July 10-14, 2006 Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA

For more information, click here.

3. Course Schedule

Invest in yourself and your staff. Time is running short to enroll in our Winter courses on Thermal Management, Packing Technology, Packaging Design, and ESD. Come and learn from the experts!

Failure and Yield Analysis

Are you new to failure analysis? Does your position require you to have an understanding of failure analysis? Learn about the latest techniques for analyzing complex devices. We have the most comprehensive short course in the industry covering failure analysis. We cover all the techniques from the simple ones (such as Liquid Crystal) all the way to complex ones (such as PICA and Laser Voltage Probing). Learn the secrets of analyzing a component right every time.

Failure and Yield Analysis (April 24-27, 2006) – Austin, TX

Failure and Yield Analysis (May 15-18, 2006) – Munich, Germany


Reliability is a critical element to the success of any semiconductor product. Reliability margins are increasingly squeezed by today’s deep submicron technologies. Learn about the major reliability failure mechanisms, test structures, and test equipment. Learn how to optimize reliability, performance, and cost.

Semiconductor Reliability (May 10-12, 2006) – Munich, Germany

To register for our courses, register online or download the registration form. Fax completed form to Semitracks at (505) 858-9813, or call (505) 858-0454 to register by phone.

We offer other courses as well as in-house courses. For more information, visit our website at http://www.semitracks.com.

4. Semitracks Segment of the Month

Semitracks’ new and improved online training is convenient, up-to-date, and cost effective. Access the same material presented in our courses whenever you need it, right when you need it without having to worry about the high costs and hassle of traveling. The semiconductor field is an ever-changing one. With access to the most current information, you can stay on top of the new technology. Online training is also very cost effective. For only $500 per year, you gain access to thousands of dollars worth of courses and course material.

Give our online training a try – for free. This month’s topic is Focused Ion Beam Technology (FIB). The focused ion beam (FIB) system has become an indispensable tool for failure analysis, design debug, and circuit editing. The FIB allows one to make modifications to a circuit and test them before generating new masks for a chip design. This can save millions of dollars in mask and wafer processing costs. The FIB is also used for TEM sample preparation, cross-sectioning, and other types of micromachining activities. To learn more, click here.

Sign up to access all of Semitracks online training at http://www.semitracks.com/default.htm and “Learn from the Experts” when it’s convenient for you.

5. Technical Tidbits

FIB Frontside Edit Procedure - Basic

Here is an example of the basic circuit edit procedure on an integrated circuit from the top side. This is a three-level metal technology, so most interconnect segments can be reached easily. In this procedure, we wish to connect the metal-2 segment to the metal-1 segment contacting the left n+ implant in the n-channel transistor. First, we mill connections to the metal segments that we wish to connect. Next, we fill those holes with a conductive metal. In most FIB systems, this will be either be platinum or tungsten. For the purposes of the examples in this section, let’s assume we are depositing tungsten. Finally, we strap the two plugs together by depositing a layer of tungsten on the surface. This action completes the connection. This procedure might require 30 minutes to complete in an FIB.

6. Our Mission

Education and Training for the Electronics Industry

Semitracks provides education, training, and certification services and products for the electronics industry. We specialize in serving Semiconductor, Microsystems and Nanotechnology suppliers and users. Semitracks Inc. helps engineers, technicians, scientists, and management understand these dynamic fields. We offer courses in Semiconductor Reliability, Test, Packaging, Process Integration, Failure and Yield Analysis, and Focused Ion Beam technology. Learn from the Experts.